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Faculty comes together to host week dedicated to romance languages

| Tuesday, April 4, 2017

On Sunday, the department of Romance languages and literatures kicked off its inaugural Romance Languages International Week with JeoparNDy, dance lessons and desserts from around the world. The week will sponsor a number of language events to help students get a taste of other cultures from around the world.

Last year, the Italian department hosted an Italian concert for students. The Romance Languages International Week was born from this idea, Italian professor Lesley Marcantonio said.

“Alessia Blad and I were sitting in her office talking about the next concert and she just said ‘What if we made it the final event of an entire week including the other languages?’” Marcantonio said. “And immediately, a professor from Portuguese walked by and she stopped him and said ‘How about we do this International Week? Would you be interested?’ and he said yes immediately and that’s how it started.”

Faculty pose in t-shirts commemorating the first-ever Romance Language Week, which is designed to promote the study of French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese through a variety of events. Photo courtesy of Marcio Bahia
Faculty pose in t-shirts commemorating the first-ever Romance Language Week, which is designed to promote the study of French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese through a variety of events.

Senior Paul Rudnicki, who is helping to organize the Italian concert this Friday, said he hopes to share Italy’s culture with other students.

“We’re really looking to share Italian with everyone,” he said. “Each song will have introductions in English and descriptions of why the song is culturally important and the time period and who sang it and how it really fits in with Italian society even up to the present day in the development of their music and culture.”

The department of Romance Languages and Literatures also organized a photo contest, showcasing students’ and faculty members’ pictures from around the world, and will be displaying the photos in O’Shaughnessy Hall until Thursday, said Marcio Bahia, associate professional specialist in Portuguese and Brazilian studies.

“The basic idea was, we have all of these people, all this wonderful staff, faculty and students who travel all over the world, especially to the countries of romance languages — Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian — and it would be nice to view the world, to see the world, through their eyes, through their experiences, through their photographic experiences,” he said.

As part of the week’s festivities, the department will also be screening films in each of the four romance languages, said Spanish professor, Tatiana Botero.

“We have a documentary—it’s a world screening happening on the campus of Notre Dame of the documentary ‘Soy Andina II’” she said. “The director and the main character are coming for the world premiere. So it’s the first time it’s going to be shown worldwide.”

Blad said the French department will be hosting a Fest-Noz celebration this Friday to allow students to explore French culture.

“[It] is a recreation of a traditional French event or celebration, so the French club with the French faculty are organizing this event for students of French and other students of [the] course. It’s open to everybody,” she said.

Italian professor Patrick Vivirito said he is organizing a soccer tournament between students from the four different language departments as part of Romance Languages week.

“Saturday afternoon, we’ve invited students and in all the four languages to represent their countries and their languages in an international soccer tournament,” he said. “The refs are a couple of Italian graduate students, so it’s truly an international type of event.”

The department also created a shirt with the words “Speak like a champion today” in the four different romance languages, to celebrate the week, Sandra Teixeira, professor of Portuguese and Brazilian studies, said.

“The faculty was the one that worked [on it] the most,” she said. “We hand selected days to launch the shirt where all the romance language faculty wore it.”

Botero said the various language departments within the department of Romance languages and literatures were able to come together to collaborate and plan the week.

“It’s not a department where like ‘Oh, the French are over there and the Italians are over there and the Spanish are over there and the Portuguese,’” she said. “No, we’re a very tight cohort that regularly meets together and we plan events together and this huge endeavor which is the International Week came out of that.”

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About Natalie Weber

Natalie Weber graduated in 2020 from the University of Notre Dame, with a Bachelor of Arts in English and minors in journalism and computing. A native of Grand Junction, Colorado she most recently served as Managing Editor at The Observer. // Email: [email protected] // Twitter: @wordsbyweber

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